Spanish fashion giant Inditex on Thursday revealed a better-than-expected 32 per cent year-on-year jump in first half net profit to $119 million as shoppers flocked to its flagship Zara brand.

The company, whose other banners include Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, and Oysho, said net sales jumped 25 per cent to $1.6 billion from the year-ago period.

Inditex said same-store sales surged 12.5 per cent in the six month period with higher sales consistent in all of its store concepts and geographic areas. It added that sales growth had continued into the first seven weeks of the current quarter.

The group registered a one-off $8m charge related to a proposed change of supplier in Mexico and also said it was considering launching a new concept in late 2003 but did not disclose any details.

But it did reveal plans to open more than a dozen new Zara stores across the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland. It will also open its first Massimo Dutti and Oysho stores in Switzerland next year.

Inditex added Massimo Dutti would enter France and Britain over the next few months as it looks to boost its retail operations, while its Pull & Bear concept would enter the German market for the first time in fiscal 2003.

The Galicia-based company also reported its first operating income (EBIT) jumped 48 per cent to $202m and its EBITDA rose 36 per cent to $301m.